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The Harding Wedding

CANADA | Monday, 27 August 2007 | Views [1282]

We arrived in Montreal completely stuffed – the flight was hard work and with all the festival work and crazy shifts immediately prior we were feeling rather dazed! We’d booked in a hostel for the first few nights and Alan (another longtime friend who’d flown over from NZ) was there to meet us. We hung out for a few days, attending BBQs and dinners with other friends and family. It was loads of fun and we got to know some great people. It was really nice to spend some time with Mat’s parents as we used to see a bit of them while students together in Palmy. Alan was patient with us as we struggled to function properly and attempted to get used to how expensive Canada is (especially with the sort of travelling style we were having to adopt).

The day before the wedding Alan hired a car and we drove up to Rigaud, where the wedding was to be held. Alan had previously booked a hotel room there which we kindly shared with us. We spyed a pool table in the bar and asked what time it opened. The owner said the bar didn’t open but we were welcome to take in our own beer and play free pool til our hearts content! The perfect solution. Later in the evening he came in to talk to us and we heard a lot of his life story. He was such an interesting guy, originally from India and supported the theory put forward on 1 Giant Leap that everyone in India is an amateur philosopher. It was a real highlight.

But now the moment we’d all been waiting for! The wedding celebrations of our dear friends Mat and Michelle. Mat and Nick have known each other since they were about 11 and I met them all as a group of friends at Massey nearly 12 years ago. Michelle’s a super lovely Canadian who Mat met while working for FIFA in Japan about 5 years ago. She came to one of our Cottage experiences (Market Drayton) and we took to her like the proverbial duck to water J They live in Zurich at the moment but decided to have their wedding in Michelle’s home region of Quebec. Except I think technically they were registered in Ontario (?) as in Quebec a woman can’t take her husbands name (unless they do the whole deed poll thing). It’s to do with following matriarchal lineages but as it wasn’t what Michelle wanted, they found a way around the system.

We walked to the wedding the next afternoon – boy was it hot! The poor boys in suits were having a hard time of it, especially as Michelle ran quite late (as brides are wont to do). It was of course a totally beautiful service and a real tear jerker. Especially as tribute was paid to Mat’s sister who could be there only in spirit. The setting by a lake, complete with swans, was gorgeous, as was the weather and everyone in their best kit! After the formalities the party cranked up and the theory that Canadians and Kiwi’s rub along well together was totally confirmed.

The following day we took the car back to Montreal and checked into hotels. That night a few of us who were back in Montreal went for a meal and a drink together and conducted a sort of ‘walking bus’ on the way back to our hotels. Goodbye’s occurred on various corners until we were on our own again.

We rested for a day before getting the bus up to Saint Sauveur which was more or less where Mat, Michelle and their respective families were spending some time in holiday cottages. We stayed with the Hardings (old and new) for a night and it was great to have some extra time with them. We then went to a campsite nearby which was really lovely, very private. On the Wednesday Mat and Michelle picked us up and dropping me off in Saint Sauveur for some time looking around the shops, they and Nick continued on to visit a water park with Michelle’s Mum (Claire), brother (Kevin) and his girlfriend (Anahi). Anahi (from Peru) had just the day before become a Canadian citizen – very cool! I’m pleased I didn’t go as it ended up being a day of carnage with most people sustaining some loss or injury, mostly on the last run!

After a few days up there the new Mr and Mrs Harding dropped us off at the bus and we said our final goodbyes before heading back to Montreal. During our last couple of days there we finally got to catch up with a couple of friends there, Gabrielle who I worked with at Trade Aid and Bill who was on sabbatical from McGill when I was with the Free Radical Group in Christchurch. We sat next to each other in the office so I had got to know him reasonably well and was looking forward to seeing him and his wife Penny again.

Gabrielle of course knew a great place to go for coffee and shouted us a real treat as decent coffees are few and far between on this trip. It was great to see her again and her about her recent adventures working as a volunteer in South America. Later that day we met Bill at his office/lab and he escorted us to the train and out to their lovely place about 30-40 minutes away. He and Penny absolutely spoiled us! We were showered with about a million different sorts of food, nice beer and great company. Bill even paid for our train tickets! We were sorry to leave but we had to get back to our room and get packed up for a 10 hour train journey through the Adirondacks to New York the next day

Tags: Ceremonies


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